Material Culture, Production & Consumption
The Material Culture, Production & Consumption hub promotes scholarship that considers the production, consumption and trade of goods, while paying attention to how these processes might have engendered connections and/or disconnections in the past.
Global history and material culture studies have intersected in profoundly important ways in recent years and this move has expanded the field considerably.
Trade and the movement of commodities have always been a staple of the global approach but the incorporation of material culture studies methodologies has allowed scholars to consider both the local and the global impact of trade.
Scholarship in this area is attuned to the many ways in which a particular object can be studied: as a trade commodity, a treasured possession, or as a tactile object that requires particular skills to be produced.
Members of the Centre are involved in a number of research projects that take the study of 'things' as their central concern.
This project concerns the ways in which visual signifiers of ‘Chineseness’ functioned in British culture from the eighteenth to early twentieth centuries and builds upon previous research with Professor Anne Gerritsen. Stephen is particularly interested in non-textual sources, including photographs, postcards, advertisements, theatre programmes and other ephemera, and the material practices that give such objects their meaning. This is the subject of his second book project, and also a significant part of his Honours-level special subject, 'Chinese Whispers: China in Western Minds since 1300' (HIST10438). Stephen received a Carnegie Research Incentive Grant in 2017 to support archival research for this project.